Behind the Scenes at the 2014 Holiday House with Kapito Muller Interiors

I’m so excited for today’s post! I wrote a lot about the 2014 Holiday House (here, here, and here), but I saved my absolute favorite space for last – the Mother’s Day room by Alyssa Kapito and Vivian Muller of Kapito Muller Interiors. The designers created a feminine, sophisticated ladies office, and I’m thrilled to have them here on the blog today answering a few of my questions about their design. Their space is super tiny, but that certainly didn’t stop them from making the most of it. Using a soft, neutral color palette, rich materials, and an elegant mix of accessories, they created a softly glamorous, chic space that I imagine any woman would be thrilled to call her own. I’ve been a huge fan of Kapito Muller Interiors ever since discovering them via Instagram (you must follow them – their feed is absolutely gorgeous), so I can’t say how happy I am to have them on the blog today. Read on to see more of their gorgeous space and learn a bit about how it all came together.
Q: Can you tell readers about how the Holiday House opportunity came about, and what the process is like?
A: We’ve been going to Holiday House for years so it was a real honor when we were approached by the team to participate in this years show. Doing a room was like going to camp for a couple of weeks with a bunch of fabulous designers. We made so many great friends and the atmosphere was so energetic! We are really going to miss everyone when its over!
Q: What were your initial thoughts upon seeing your space and finding out your “theme” (Mother’s Day)? How did the space and the Mother’s Day theme inform your design?
A: We got a tour of the house and were given a few rooms to pick from, but when we got to the room we ended up choosing it was love at first sight. While the a room was small in size, it had these sky-high ceilings that peaked our interest and a sad dilapidated window that was begging to be fixed up. We immediately thought what a darling little ladies office it would make, and thats how the Mother’s Day concept was born. We wanted to create a place that a woman could relax and spend time. Something that was feminine but sophisticated.
Q: What is the timeline, from first finding out to the time the House opens?
A: We took on Holiday House in September and started installing the room in mid November, so its about 8 weeks of wonderful craziness. We had to be fully schemed and have ordered all the items for our room by week 4 to account for any lead times, and then we had exactly one week to fully renovate and install the room. For anyone who’s done a construction project, they can really appreciate how tight that timeframe is!
Q: Did you use any vintage pieces, and if so, can you tell us a little about them?
A: We wanted the room to feel collected over time so we used quite a few vintage pieces from different periods. Some of our favorites were the midcentury Italian ceiling fixture from Le Lampade and the antique mahogany desk that we had refinished with an ivory leather top.
Q: What did you start with when it came to the design? (color scheme, furniture, etc?).
A: We wanted something very soothing and calm so we began by thinking about a very muted color palette. With that in mind, we knew we would have to focus on contrasting textures in order to make the room come together and feel significant. The silk carpet from Stark was the first item chosen for the room and shortly thereafter we found this fabulous cork paper from Innovations that we used to cover the ceiling. At the same time we bumped into this great curved sofa by Gio Ponti while we were shopping at 1st dibs for a client. We knew it would be the prefect piece to anchor the room but it was way too big for the space. We ended up having an adorable mini version custom made and its one of our favorite pieces in the room!
Q: Personally, I love all of the details in the space, as well as the soft, luxurious materials and soothing palette. What are your favorite aspects of your design?
A: We had to cover an awkward door in the corner of our room which lead to the next designers space. We’ve never used a folding screen before and have always wanted to so this situation seemed like an ideal time to try one out! A big challenge was finding a screen that was tall enough to cover the door. After a lot of searching we decided to have one made with a shagreen paper from Ralph Lauren. We couldn’t have been happier with the result and the screen gives the space another layer. It is definitely something we would use again!
Q: What are the biggest challenges when it comes to designing a showhouse room? Are there any restrictions on your design? (such as not putting holes in certain walls, etc).
A: Our design was approved without any problems but the biggest challenge for us was the installation timeframe because our room needed quite a bit of prep work and construction before we could  even begin wallpapering. We had to skim coat the walls and ceiling which took up the first two days so we were pretty nervous! Luckily we had an incredible contracting team working with us and we got it done on time.
Q: Can you tell us about the amazing art in the room?
A: The artwork was graciously loaned to us from Gerald Bland which is a fantastic gallery that also sells furniture and lighting. Gerald Bland is one of our favorite vendors because everything they curate is so gorgeous and special! We love displaying art in unconventional ways and decided to group three smaller works instead of getting one big piece. We also used some lucite easels from BK Antiques to anchor the artwork in the bookshelves.
Q: I imagine that designing for a showhouse (versus a client) allows you to have free rein in terms of really expressing your design style. Can you tell us how your showhouse room reflects the Kapito Muller aesthetic and/or design philosophy?
A: We’ve been told that our aesthetic is clean and soothing with something eclectic for good measure, and we think that definitely holds true of this space. But every project needs an anchor and so we created an imaginary dream client who appreciates art, travel, and antiques to give us a good jumping off point around which to begin scheming. We imagined she was very chic and had a great job and used this space to focus on writing handwritten thank you cards as she sips a glass of wine or getting dressed for a glamorous event. It was such a fun project!
I want to extend a huge thank you to Vivian and Alyssa for answering all of my questions! I’ve always been so curious to know what it’s like for the designers to put together these showhouse rooms, and I find it so interesting to get a behind the scenes glimpse. I’m just absolutely obsessed with the space they created – it’s sophisticated, feminine, and simple, but they made every detail count. I’m extra impressed that they were able to create such a warm and inviting room using a very muted color palette – it’s not so easy to pull off a room full of neutrals without having it come out flat or cold. They expertly mixed textures and added touches of metallic which I think helped to make their space feel warm and inviting. I’m also very impressed that they were able to create such a feminine space with barely a touch of pink. Overall, it was a truly inspiring space – and I want Alyssa and Vivian to decorate my next apartment!
photos by me, except for last one via


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  1. I love Holiday House! But Jackie I hope you don't mind me posting this here:CHECK THIS OUT :

    This fantastic showroom will be coming to NYC-Soho next year! There will also be a 2nd location in the city I understand. You're gonna love it!

    Published 12.11.14 · Reply